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[PTX] IPFIX Flow timestamp inaccurate time with NTP synchronized system time



Article ID: KB34501 KB Last Updated: 04 Jun 2021Version: 2.0

The timestamp reported for packet arrival in NetFlow records shows inaccurate time due to incorrect synchronization with Network Time Protocol (NTP).

This article describes the reason for the inaccurate timestamp and the steps to resolve the issue.


Users may observe the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal flow aggregation data caused by incorrect timestamp

  • Packet TCP dump shows a difference between the packet arrival time and the NetFlow reported time. You can see the difference between the StartTime and EndTime as shown below:

TCP Example

Cisco NetFlow/IPFIX
    Version: 10
    Length: 1360
    Timestamp: Apr 13, 2019 23:24:55.000000000 PDT
        ExportTime: 1555223095
    FlowSequence: 1038743472
    Observation Domain Id: 0
    Set 1 [id=256] (8 flows)
        FlowSet Id: (Data) (256)
        FlowSet Length: 676
        [Template Frame: 424 (received after this frame)]
        Flow 1
            IP ToS: 0x00
            Protocol: TCP (6)
            SrcPort: 42640 (42640)
            DstPort: 443 (443)
            ICMP Type: 0x0000
            InputInt: 859
            SrcAS: 3549
            DstAS: 65000
            OutputInt: 856
            Octets: 52
            Packets: 1
            [Duration: 0.000000000 seconds (switched)]
                StartTime: 2553672.470000000 seconds
                EndTime: 2553672.470000000 seconds
            SrcMask: 22
            DstMask: 32
            TCP Flags: 0x10, ACK
            IPVersion: 4
            [Duration: 0.000000000 seconds (milliseconds)]
                StartTime: Apr 13, 2019 21:52:07.216000000 PDT
                EndTime: Apr 13, 2019 21:52:07.216000000 PDT

Epoch time may change due to NTP reset or any change in the time of a router. Epoch time will also change if it is intentionally changed via configuration or a date change is made via the Command Line Interface (CLI). When triggered, the previously known time is used in the NetFlow record export, resulting in inaccurate time reporting for NetFlow record packet arrival.



Resolved in Junos OS releases 18.2R3, 18.3R3, 17.4R3, 18.1R3-S6, and 19.1R2.


Note: Restarting multi-svcs will have no impact. However, the NetFlow record stops until the process restarts. It is recommended to plan for a maintenance window before executing the commands below.

  1. Log in to the shell as the root user.
  2. Connect to the vhclient.

  3. Find the process PID for multi-svcs.

  4. Restarting the multi-svcs process (kill -9 PID) of multi-svcs.elf will correct the problem.

After the multi-svcs process restarts, time will correct.


user@router> start shell user root
root@router:/var/home/labroot # vhclient -s
Last login: Fri May 24 12:38:38 PDT 2019 from springbank on pts/5
root@router-node:~# ps -aux | grep multi
Warning: bad ps syntax, perhaps a bogus '-'? See
root      8034 13.4  0.4 950636 144116 ?       Sl   Jun04 2535:50 /usr/sbin/spbfpc-multi-svcs.elf -c 0x1
root      8235  0.0  0.0   4412   504 pts/0    S+   14:21   0:00 grep multi

root@router-node:~# kill -9  8034
root@router-node:~# ps -aux | grep multi
Warning: bad ps syntax, perhaps a bogus '-'? See
root     25699  0.0  0.0   4412   500 pts/3    S+   14:28   0:00 grep multi
root@router-node:~# ps -aux | grep multi
Warning: bad ps syntax, perhaps a bogus '-'? See
root     25993 20.5  0.3 606400 97544 ?        Sl   14:28   0:00 /usr/sbin/spbfpc-multi-svcs.elf -c 0x1
root     26081  0.0  0.0   4412   500 pts/3    S+   14:28   0:00 grep multi
Modification History:
2021-06-04: Minor, non-technical edits.
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